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old buffalo

i had to spend some time on the west side of buffalo yesterday (black rock) as i was speaking with the pharmacies that we are targeting for our project. as i drove around the neighborhood, i came across some interesting warehouses and abandoned industrial buildings. it reminded me a lot of williamsburg and greenpoint, closer to the east river before 2003 when heavy residential development happened. empty streets, maybe one or two people walking around, just the feeling that despite evidence of humans being there... you still felt like you were the only one there. i've always liked that feeling of being by myself... it brings a sense of peace. i'm always amazed by how decisions made can really alter history significantly. for instance, the erie canal has always fascinated me. it was the major reason why buffalo rose to the heights that it did in the past. being in the black rock neighborhood, i reflected on what might have been. originally the plan was to end the canal at black rock (a separate town and competitor to buffalo). buffalo ended up winning the battle and the recognition, while the black rock that was the reason for the name of the town of black rock was blasted away because it stood in the way of the erie canal. in the end black rock was annexed into the city of buffalo. imagine how different things could have been if black rock won the battle for the canal terminus. the 2nd largest city in new york state could have shifted a couple miles north on lake erie. the planned park system by olmsted and vaux may have had a completely different layout... due to the street grid developing from black rock instead of buffalo (if they would have had an interest to design parks for the city of black rock instead). then again, if you look at how much the streets had changed after the development of highways (thank you robert moses, you destroyer of neighborhoods) and urban planning all under the name of urban renewal in the 1950s-70s... maybe the canal wouldn't have been filled in between tonawanda and buffalo and built over with the niagara expressway.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 8, 2009 5:53 PM.

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